Slowhand: An Appreciation

I’ve recently taken to saying that the Beatles got me interested in playing guitar and that Eric Clapton has kept me interested.

The Beatles entered the world’s consciousness in 1962 (or 1963, depending on who you talk to).  I was a kid living in Bangkok, Thailand when my musical world changed.  I can honestly claim that I saw the Beatles, but not in concert.  They were on an Asian tour and stopped briefly in Thailand.  They never got off the plane, but were still greeted at the airport by adoring throngs.  And I was among them.  They came to the door and waved at us.

By the mid-1960s, when I was in high school, the Beatles were continuing to top the music charts, and I had grown tired and frustrated playing piano according to my parents’ wishes (and NOT playing the music I wanted to play).  My friend RIck Johnson had an old Sears Kay guitar he never played, so I bought it from him for ten dollars.  It was a horrible guitar, with a warped neck, but I didn’t care.  Buying songbooks from the local record store, I learned current tunes using the chord charts.  I confess to being self-taught, and every error in fingering styles, posture and playing is mine.

In college, I bought my first new guitar at the Post Exchange (PX) in Munich, Germany.  It was a twelve-string acoustic made by Framus (the company’s history may be worth another post, but not today).  I don’t know why I got a twelve string, except that I think I was angling to the top-of-the-line guitar in my price range.  I took that guitar with me to college, and played with other students in jam sessions, and even wrote a couple of songs with it.  I still have that guitar today.  It’s 50 years old!

Framus 12-string guitar

My first new guitar – now 50 years old. Framus 12-string

In 1970, the Beatles as a band came to an end.  Their legacy remains alive, but other than bootlegs and mashups, no new music from the Beatles was forthcoming.

At the same time, the British rock-and-blues scene was exploding.  Leading the charge was a fiery guitarist named Eric Clapton.  It seems everything associated with Clapton turned to gold.  He played with the Yardbirds (a group who spawned fellow guitarists Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page) and then with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and then lit up the world with the first “supergroup,” the power trio, Cream.

Many a day and night were spent listening to Cream albums, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire, and Goodbye come to mind.

From Cream, Eric moved onto Blind Faith, who only released one album, but it still has a place in rock history.  Not just because of its original cover (which was “banned” and replaced).

I partially drifted away from listening to Clapton’s work after Derek and the Dominoes, which some people think is his greatest album.  But he kept showing up on the airwaves, and I saw him in concert in 1974 at what was then known as the Capital Centre.  He was promoting his first truly “solo” album then, 461 Ocean Boulevard.

I have albums and songbooks of Clapton’s music, and I’ve read about some of the tribulations he’s gone through, and lately, with the COVID-19 affecting everybody everywhere, I was pleased to learn that Eric had released a new album.

Motivated by the COVID cancellation of a Royal Albert Hall concert, Clapton decided to take his band (consisting of standout bassist Nathan East, keyboardist Chris Stainton and percussionist Steve Gadd) and set up in a country estate in West Sussex, England.  Recorded live, The Lady In The Balcony (reference to his wife Melia, who watched), the album is 17 tracks, 14 of which are acoustic (the other three are electrified but not the typical hall-filling power chords).  Many of these are Clapton classics, some are tributes, and all of them sound to me as if Eric and Co. had invited me to sit in the living room while they played.

Call me a fan!  I saw a few videos (I think there’s a DVD of the album) on YouTube and immediately said to myself, “I have got to get this album!”  Fortunately it was approaching Christmas so I dropped a not-too-subtle hint to my daughter, and lo and behold, I now have my own copy.

Coinciding with my recent venture into live performing, I’ve locked into this album’s rendition of Bell Bottom Blues (you can see it here) .  The song itself isn’t hard — I learned it quickly — but I’m just fascinated by the solo Eric plays, and I’m obsessing over learning it.  It’s hard trying to visualize it from the video, so I’m basically taking it measure by measure, lining up the sound with what he’s playing.  I’m no Eric Clapton, and since he’s the only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and winner of some 18 Grammy awards, I never will be.  But I’m grateful that Eric Clapton has blessed the world with some outstanding music, and kept my interest in playing guitar alive.

Postscript:  Some people who aren’t as old as I am may not be familiar with Eric Clapton’s guitar playing skills.  Here is a video of a much younger Clapton demonstrating some of his chops.

 

Another Keeper

My sister gave me a t-shirt a couple of years ago that says, “You can never have too many guitars.”  That’s a saying that’s familiar to guitarists and so with that in mind, I introduce my latest addition:  A Martin Dreadnought Junior (DJr-10E).

Martin DJr-10E Sapele

Martin DJr-10E Sapele

I need another guitar like I need another hole in my head, but I love guitars, and when someone told me they preferred their Martin “Junior” to their Taylor GS Mini, I had to check it out for myself.  Currently, my GS Mini-e Koa is my favorite acoustic guitar.

Taylor GS Mini-e Koa

Taylor GS Mini-e Koa

(No, those aren’t the same photo — I’ve taken to keeping them in cases due to the seasonal drop in humidity; it’s easier to keep them properly humidified this way).

Actually, I started out researching the “Streetmaster” version of the “Junior,” and now I’m not quite sure why.  I have a Streetmaster version of a Martin OMC-15ME (shown on the previous post, so I won’t post another image).  In the back of my mind, I think I figured I could use the guitar as a “beater” and not care if it got scuffed or dinged.  But as I checked the specs (Martin makes three versions:  one in Sitka Spruce, one in Sapele, and the Streetmaster, which is also Sapele).  I couldn’t really determine why the Streetmaster model sells for $100 more!

My research found me at the web site of Maury’s Music in Coaldale, Pennsylvania.  Maury’s is a Certified Martin dealer, and is located about 40 miles from Martin’s headquarters in Nazareth, PA.

C.F. Martin Headquarters

Guitar Maker C. F. Martin’s Nazareth, PA Headquarters

Apparently, Maury and his only employee (Maury, his wife Lori and one employee — Andrew are the only employees) drive to Nazareth and carry guitars directly back to their shop!

I spoke with Maury via email and asked him the tonal difference between the Sapele (sapele is a wood very much like mahogany) model and the Streetmaster and he indicated there was no difference.  So, not seeing any reason to pay an additional $!00, I started considering the Sapele.

Further discussions and reading on Maury’s site suggested that the sound of the guitar could be enhanced by upgrading the saddle and the bridge pins (the saddle is a bar of material over which the guitar strings are placed, which raises the strings up and allows a straight line to the nut.  Bridge pins hold the strings in place in the guitar body).  Heck, I figured if I was going to order a brand new guitar, I might as well get it right!  So I had the stock saddle replaced with buffalo bone, and bone with abalone inserts for the bridge pins.  Bone makes the guitar sound brighter than manmade materials, I learned.

So now I have two smaller guitars that have excellent sound and playability.  I have learned that smaller, shorter guitars work better for me, as I have small, thin hands, and overall I don’t feel like I’m “hunkering over” the instrument as I play.

I have a slightly guilty feeling about purchasing this guitar, because I have a custom guitar being made, and it is supposedly near being finished.

But you can’t have too many guitars, can you?

Phase II – In Which Doris Gets Her Oats

Apologies to the late John Lennon for appropriating his doggerel opening to The Two of Us.  Sometimes, the subject heading to one of these posts just pops into my head, and this was it.  John actually said, “Phase one…” but that doesn’t fit.

My reason for thinking of Phase II is that as a follow-on post to my previous entry, I have now taken the stage twice at the open mic night, and so now I’m no longer a first-timer, and am now moving into the “veteran” category!

Having a time constraint has caused me to focus more on shorter tunes, rather than the long, extended improvisations I’ve conducted in the privacy of my home.  This is a bit of a change, as I now have to work in a song introduction, play, repeat, and leave the stage.  I’ve been using a timer to practice, and that’s helping.

There’s also my voice.  When singing at home, it makes no difference if one is in the shower or the living room; there isn’t an audience, so hitting sour notes or a cracking voice aren’t issues.  But off-key singing in concert is most definitely a turn-off.  So, I’ve started using a capo (something I’ve looked down my nose at until recently).  This lets me change the key of a song without having to change the fingerings I know.

Guitar Capo

Guitar Capo

Thus, when I took the stage, I wanted to play songs I’ve known for a long time, that I like musically, and felt comfortable playing.  My first choice was David Crosby‘s Triad, a song I first heard performed by Jefferson Airplane on their Crown of Creation album (still one of my favorite “oldies” albums).

Crown of Creation, 1968 by Jefferson Airplane

Crown of Creation album cover, 1968

It wasn’t until I heard Crosby’s performance of it on the live, 4 Way Street double album by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young that I fell in love with the guitar work!

CSNY - 4 Way Street

4 Way Street live double album by CSN&Y

The problem I’ve had with this song is that I cannot sing it in the key in which it’s written, and it uses the upper part of the guitar neck, so I’ve never cared to use a capo to adjust it to my voice.  Until now.  I found that by placing the capo on the third fret, I could sing with the music and still reach the upper frets.

However, I felt to make that easier, I needed to use a guitar that allows easier access to the higher notes, and that meant using an acoustic guitar with a cutaway.  Given that this was going to be an all-acoustic (no amplification) performance, I wanted a guitar that would also project well.  Hmm.  I had purchased a Martin OMC-15ME that, once I received it, did not love.  It went into a case and I mentally put it on my “sell” list.  Maybe it would do?

Martin OMC-15ME Streetmaster in Weathered Red

Martin OMC-15ME Streetmaster in Weathered Red

I took it to Melodee Music, hoping to buy a truss rod wrench to give it some neck relief.  They didn’t have one in stock, but the tech there offered to do the job, and so I drooled over other guitars while he did the job.  And it did the job!  I now found the guitar playable.

So, I capo’ed and practiced, and took the stage.  I introduced the song and played it, blowing the lyrics on the first chorus, but I just surged through it to the end.  I then introduced my second song (sans capo) by saying that my last attempt at a sing-along hadn’t worked too well, but if folks knew the lyrics, they could sing along now.  Then I played the BeatlesMaxwell’s Silver Hammer, which I completely nailed!

I got some exuberant applause, which is more than just polite acknowledgment, which made me feel pretty good!  After the show, the emcee came to me and complimented me by saying I was a “monster” guitar player.  Given that he’s no slouch on the instrument himself, I considered that terrific praise!

We’re now heading into the holiday season, and I’d like to play at least one instrumental I learned last year, and have been getting familiar with again, Bing Crosby‘s (no relation to David) I’ll Be Home For Christmas.  I’m also focusing on another Beatles (Paul McCartney, actually) song as performed by the British duo, Peter & Gordon.  I haven’t yet decided between World Without Love, I Don’t Want to See You Again, or the Beatles’ No Reply.

But I have a week to decide.  And practice.

Another Box Checked

Last night I finally made my performing debut.  For years (decades, actually) I have avoided taking the stage, preferring to play my guitar and sing songs in the privacy of my home.  I’ve taken to referring to myself as a “bedroom soloist.”

That changed last night.  Here’s the story, told in brief:

A few weeks ago I was informed of a local group that meets every week to sing and play music.  The Folk Club of Reston/Herndon (Virginia) has been gathering for 36 years, and I just now heard of it!  Given that I lived in Reston for 27 years and that I was there when the club was founded, I was a bit taken aback at my ignorance.  But, there’s no time like the present, so I thought I’d check it out.  Tuesdays are free evenings for me usually, so this worked out well.

The venue is the back room of the Amphora Diner Deluxe, a 365-day eatery that serves a full assortment of meals and cuisines.

Amphore Diner Deluxe

Amphora Diner Deluxe, Herndon, VA

After my first visit, I came away thinking to myself, “I can do this!”  The variety of performers ranged from semi-professionals to those, who like me, play for their own pleasure and fulfillment. So, I decide to take the risk and join them.

It’s a simple and well-established process:  A sign-up board is placed to the side of the performing area and those who wish to play add their names.  Each performer is given eight minutes (including set up time).  Once a month there is a “showcase” performance, where the star is given 24 minutes.  There is usually a concert once a month with a featured artist and a small cover charge.  There is a brief intermission, and guests are free to eat during performances.

So, given an eight-minute performance window, I decided to practice a couple of songs that I hoped I would have down pat, and loaded my guitar into my car and arrived early enough to get my name on the list.  As it turned out, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is probably not the high demand date, so I was informed each performer would be allowed twelve minutes instead of eight.

I had signed up to be fourth, but with the empty slots, that became second.  After the first performer left the stage, I was introduced as a first-timer at the club.  I added that I was a first-timer overall, and that as my “maiden voyage,” would allow myself three mistakes.  I then introduced my first song, Michael Nesmith‘s Roll With the Flow.  It took me a minute to get my bearings, so to speak:  bright lights in my eyes, and finding my voice.  Fortunately, any jitters mostly disappeared, although I felt at times I was struggling with my voice.  I followed that with Steve Goodman‘s Six Hours Ahead of the Sun, a tune I’d only recently been teaching myself.  Oddly enough, I think I played the latter better than the former, even though I started with what I thought would be my best offering.

Given that I had more time than I’d planned for, I decided to add my rendition of Brewer & Shipley‘s interpretation of Witchi-Tai To, an Indian chant that I’ve loved since I first heard them perform it in the early 1970s.  I tried to get the audience engaged in singing it as a “round” (the style used to sing Row Row Row Your Boat, for reference), but as I learned later, many in the audience couldn’t make out the words.

Which is another fact I only learned about:  Performances are mostly acoustic-only, meaning that there is no amplification and no microphones, which I thought from my previous visits were the norm.  I’m glad I practiced acoustically, but it was a lesson learned that I needed to consider: What un-enhanced music sounds like, and how to better project.  My voice is not my strong point, so I need to work on it.

Overall, I had a lot of fun.  I made a few mistakes, but as I learned early on, many in the audience don’t notice, and some of the other performers made errors, too.  Some more glaring than mine!  The main objective is to have a good time, and in that I succeeded.  I even had one audience member thank me for Witchi-Tai To, saying she’d heard Brewer & Shipley play it in concert, and hadn’t heard it in years.

Now, I’m no longer a rookie.  I’ve decided to do it again, and so I’m going to work on some new material and give it another go!

 

Active Melody

Much to my surprise and amazement, I’ve found an online guitar instruction site that has actually improved my guitar playing!  That site is ActiveMelody.com.  I have toyed with a number of sites, and found many of them helpful, but none quite seemed to fit my style.

One site I visited often was the Blues Guitar Institute.  It has some terrific content, but I was put off by its $14.99/month ($99.99 annual) fee.  Some terrific free sites, such as JustinGuitar and Marty Schwartz’s lessons are great for quick lessons, but many of these sites are focused on learning songs.  I wanted something with a little more structure (but not TOO much), and then I found Brian Sherrill.

Brian Sherrill, of Active Melody

Brian Sherrill of activemelody.com

Brian doesn’t promote himself.  In fact, I didn’t know his last name until I did some searching online.  Which is kind of cool, because at ActiveMelody, it’s just Brian and his lessons.

Key to his approach is that Brian explains the “why” of certain guitar playing.  Yes, it’s music theory, but he downplays that aspect, choosing instead to show how to play.  The when and why part of it fall in place gradually.

At first, I was reluctant to pay ($89.00 annually).  There is a forum on the site, and I joined to nose around a bit and investigate.  One of the posters there made the observation that the annual charge was roughly what one would pay for a single in-person lesson with a tutor.  Since I’d done that not long ago, I had to admit he had a point, so I signed up.

One of the best decisions I’ve made.  After a year of COVID lockdowns, it felt nice to get some structure to my playing.  Since I’ve been able to work from home, which means I can grab a guitar any time and spend a few minutes practicing, having lessons to practice has been a great help.

Membership also provides me access to tablature (TAB) downloads, jam tracks and “part two” of lessons when available.  The PDF downloads have been a terrific aide, and I’m only now beginning to take advantage of the jam tracks.  Well worth the $89!

Brian doesn’t know (and likely doesn’t care) that I’m posting this.  But I’m quite happy with activemelody.com and confess to being a satisfied customer!

Summertime Blues

Despite the somber sounding title, this is an upbeat post.  In fact, it’s a call-back to what may be considered one of the top summer songs of the rock era.  Eddie Cochran wrote and recorded this anthem of teenage angst and frustration in 1958.  I first heard it performed on record by the band Blue Cheer,

VIncebus Eruptum - album by Blue Cheer

The album cover for Vincebus Eruptum, by Blue Cheer (1968)

and then shortly after by the Who (the version recorded on the Live At Leeds album is tremendous).

Live At Leeds by the Who (1970)

Live At Leeds double-LP album cover by the Who, 1970

It’s a pretty simple song: The standard I, IV, V chord structure of blues and many rock songs.

So why post an article about it?

Realizing that almost a month has gone by since my last post, I felt the need to update the blog.  And since I’ve been playing a lot of guitar this year, and it’s summertime, it all seemed to fit.  In fact, I’m pretty upbeat about my guitar playing of late as well, and the blues has been a big part of that.

There are times when I feel playing nothing but blues guitar is a bit limiting, so I keep going back to some non-blues pieces I enjoy playing.  Songs from artists such as America, David Crosby, the Allman Brothers, and the vastly underrated (in my opinion) Love.

I suppose most everyone remembers the summers of their youth as the “best of times.” In my case, the years 1967-1969 were not only the best of my time, but were pivotal years in modern history and culture.  There was the “Summer of Love” (1967) and Woodstock (1969).

Woodstock (1969) Logo

The 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival logo

Yes, there was turmoil (the riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the fiasco at the Democrat Convention in 1968), but the music generated spoke powerfully of the social issues of the day.  Sentiment against the ongoing war in Vietnam had divided the USA, and many songs reflected this division.

Every time I pick up my guitar and play a song from the summers of my youth, I am transported back in time to those days, where I wander with a smile on my face and memories that live forever.  Summertime blues?  Never!

On This Day in 2021

Nothing happened.

The Occupant of the White House kept America’s credit card in his pocket and didn’t spend money (that we know of).  The Washington Nationals, as a result of a four game winning streak, moved into a first place tie with the NY Mets.  But they’re only 24 games into a 162 game season.  And their record is 12-12.  (It is fun to watch future hall-of-famer Max Scherzer pitch, though).

No riots have been reported, and COVID-19-20-21-22 is not the leading story in the news.  Oh, the rule makers are still trying to play it for all it’s worth, but it’s more and more obvious it’s a “plan-demic” as opposed to a pandemic.

Wait.  Hold the phone.  It just hit the news wire:  Bill and Melinda Gates have announced they are ending their marriage.  First it was Jeff Bezos, now Bill Gates.  I guess the pitfall to being the richest man in the world is that marriage is unsustainable.  I doubt this will affect many outside their circle.

All my computers, cars and appliances are functioning normally.  All my guitars are strung and playable.  I get my daily exercise and have now been twice vaccinated.  In two weeks, I’ll be on vacation.  Today, nothing happened.

But I felt like writing about it.  🤓

Taking a Giant Leap

I have spoken many times about guitars and guitar playing. It’s perhaps the one passion that has sustained me since I was a teenager. I took a few years off after breaking my left elbow, but I didn’t get rid of my guitars, I just put them away for a while.

Over the past few years I have acquired a number of guitars. Some of them based on a perceived “collectibility” and others because they struck my fancy. Some I play, some I will likely never (or almost never) play, and others I have a pure joy every time I pick them up. Yes, I have a few clunkers as well. I wouldn’t have admitted that a few years ago, but it’s true; not only will I not play them, but now I don’t even like them!

Currently, I have three guitars (four, if you count my lovely little KLŌS travel guitar) that I find myself playing frequently. At least one of the four every day! I love them all, and they each have characteristics that lend themselves to my playing enjoyment. Do I have pictures? Let’s see…

Ibanez AG95QA
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa
1957 Gibson ES-225t

And just for grins and giggles, my KLŌS and Gretsch “Jim Dandy” – Parlor guitars, if you will.

Gretsch G9500 “Jim Dandy”
KLŌS carbon fiber travl guitar

It’s eye candy to me, even if it does nothing for you! 😁

So, where am I going with this? It’s the giant leap of the title.

Last week, I was reading a guitar forum (one of many I belong to) and one of the posters wrote a glowing letter of recommendation for a guitar maker in Oregon named Stephen Holst. Very quickly, others joined in and were in universal praise for the man and his guitars. They included photos.

Holst makes custom guitars. I asked the forum members about the process and then I reached out to Holst himself. This is a photo that inspired me to consider having him build me a guitar.

Holst custom guitar, “ch1.”

Steve sent me a spreadsheet that when I looked at it bowled me over: Bracing type? Tailpiece type? Pickups? Wow. I filled out those items I felt I could and asked him to guide me with the rest. And so it begins…

I don’t know what the final price will be, but the round numbers on his web site, plus the fact he takes a down payment means that I can actually get a guitar made exclusively for me, and one that I hope combines the best features of the three guitars (above) that I love to play. More will be revealed…

Worth The Wait

Recently I wrote about how playing guitar “elevates my spirit.” Even though I took time off after breaking my elbow, playing the guitar has been a constant in my life. A constant source of joy, peace and even escape.

Making up for lost time, I’ve gone on a guitar buying spree the past few years, and have now accumulated a bit of a collection. When I was young and poor, electric guitars and the amps needed to play them were out of reach. Having achieved a modicum of success, I’ve acquired some electrics from name brands I admire: Gibson, Fender and more. One thing that I had a hard time realizing is that I spend more time playing acoustic guitar than I do playing electric guitar.

Now that I have the amps, the cables, the guitars, and even some foot pedals, I should be tearing it up on electric guitar. But I guess that I’m inherently lazy, because I find it just so much easier to pick up an acoustic and play rather than plug in, flip a switch, play, and then reverse the procedure. And when I have an acoustic guitar within arm’s reach, just pick up and play.

Big Baby Taylor-e

Before I knew that Taylor was the number #1 seller of guitars today, I bought an acoustic Big Baby Taylor-e to serve as a temporary replacement for my Framus 12-string while I had it in the shop.

Little did I realize I’d have my 12-string back the same day, so now I had two acoustics. Hey, a 12-string and a six-string. I had a choice. And I played them sporadically, but I still thought of myself now as an electric guitar player.

KLŌS Travel Guitar

Then, one day I saw an online ad for a company that was fundraising to create a carbon fiber travel guitar. I was very disappointed in the travel guitar I had (a Pignose PGG-200 Deluxe) and the prospect of an “indestructible” guitar appealed to me. So I pledged, and sure enough, I was soon the owner of a KLŌS guitar. Whee! I loved the size, the playability, and the ability to pack it away in a suitcase and not worry about what baggage handlers might do to it. I even liked the sound, but felt there was something lacking. At times it seemed “tinny.”

Confessing to be a bit of a “cork-sniffer,” I found a travel-sized Martin guitar, and bought the LX1RE.

Right size, right sound, but just not as “playable” as the KLŌS. Still, I used it as my go-to guitar for a while, but in the back of my mind, felt like it wasn’t quite “the one.”

“Little” Martin LX1RE

An attractive sale on another Martin had me dig into my wallet and I added yet another acoustic to my growing collection. Again, a terrific sound, but as I’d read before buying it, many consider it a “strumming” guitar. And I found that it didn’t suit the whole range of my playing. I will likely sell it or trade it — it’s just not a good “fit” for me.

As is my habit (dangerous to my wallet!), I browse a variety of web sites. A recent announcement of a new line by Taylor called the GT series (short for Grand Theater) offered a smalller size “combining the inviting feel of a compact instrument with the rich voice of a full-size, all-solid-wood guitar.” I looked into them a bit, but was put off by the price ($1,399-$1,599). But I also noticed the GS Mini (short for Grand Symphony). I found some on Reverb and added them to my watchlist. A couple of days later I was alerted to a drop in price and free shipping on a Koa model, and since my bank account had some wiggle room in it, I took the plunge.

Taylor GS Mini-e Koa. MY Taylor Mini-e Koa!

More than once I’ve thought to myself – and said to others – “This is the acoustic guitar I’ve wanted for decades!” It’s lightweight, plays and sounds like a dream, and is the perfect size for me. Others might consider it a travel guitar, but heck, I’ve got one of those. This is my at-home go-to guitar!

25 YEARS of MFNA.ORG

I have playing in the background right now some streaming audio from a site I’ve been listening to for a short while now, and it got me to thinking: Music For a New Age (MFNA) — this site — is now 25 years old!

That category of music sometimes erroneously (in my opinion) labeled “new age” is certainly not new. Fifty years ago, artists such as Tangerine Dream, Kitaro, Tomita, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Mike Oldfield were producing flowing, electronic, meditative and other-worldly music, experimenting and forging new ways of thinking about, and listening to music.

The MFNA web site was born out a personal wish to learn the then-new technology of the worldwide web. I didn’t purchase the domain name right away, but when it became apparent this thing called The Internet wasn’t just a passing fancy, I latched onto it. That was 25 years ago!

Originally, mfna.org was little more than a “portal.” It was mostly links to other sites, separated into “pages” of data: records companies, broadcast stations, artists, and reviews. It was a personal creation; mostly a set of bookmarks to sites I enjoyed. It grew when others found it, and I wrote reviews and communicated directly with artists and producers. It was an exciting time to be a “web producer.”

Much has changed over the past quarter-century. Sites come and go, new performers arrive, old labels go under and new ones arise. But music survives. So, this brief revisit is more a “memory bubble” than anything else.

Without further ado, here are some links to music and musicians I listen to today. I should note, that some of these sites and their operators, performers and personalities, have been doing so for much longer than mfna.org has existed. Music From the Hearts of Space, for example, has been broadcasting since the early 1980s. So, let’s start with them…

I should also like to make mention of Spotted Peccary, a recording label that features outstanding musical talent, and production standards. This is a company that is at the vanguard of keeping “new age” music alive!